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  • Author: varder
  • Date: 27-11-2017, 17:28
27-11-2017, 17:28

LEARNING FROM HISTORY: STOP DISCRIMINATION!

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On Monday, November 13th 2017, the International Youth Meeting Centrebased in Oświęcim, Poland, welcomed 12 young people from Poland, Germany and Ukraine, who had become the participants of the seminar “Learning from History”. Everyone was eager to start working on the theme “Discrimination”, but the first day was devoted mostly to the integration. Due to the cozy and playful atmosphere, everybody got rid of shackles of shyness and was ready to refresh historical knowledge about the horrors of 1930-40s which was necessary for visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum planned for the next 2 days.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we experienced 4-hour excursions around Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau respectively. Though we were aware of all inhumanity and obduracy that plagued in that place, entering the museum we realized that we were not ready to see everything firsthand. Walking from the exposition to the exposition, our eyes were full of tears from the horrors that people were forced to pass through. We rejected to imagine how people could do such things to human beings. The photos of living skeletons, Jewish children's shoes, cut hair, broken glasses left untouched no one.  Recovering from the emotional commotion, the participants spent hours in fruitful discussion of what we had seen.

Thursday and Friday were spent working on the topic of discrimination in the modern world. Listening to the stories of people who appeared to be the victims of racial, gender, religious and sexual discrimination we tried to figure out the ways how to free people’s minds from all the prejudices and stereotypes and how to build the society of open-minded humans. One of the surprises was the chance to work with amazing Ewa Natkaniec, a creative designer, who taught us the basics of creating the posters and helped us to make our own anti-discrimination projects and transfer them from the computer screen to paper.

The presentation of our posters became the exclamation point of the seminar. Everyone chose different topics and had unique ideas, so the presentation became a great opportunity to express our thoughts about manifold types of discrimination and explain what problems we wanted to raise with our works. We were amazed how creative every idea was! But what is more: we worked on the projects until the midnight generously offering the helping hand to each other. We were a real team of friends who enjoyed spending time together!

For every participant the seminar appeared to be not only a serious educational event. Coming to a less formal part of it that started after all the work was done, the fun began. Our faces hurt from laughter, our brains were baffled with stories about Polish, German and Ukrainian traditions, our stereotypes were totally broken and the number of friends was significantly increased! We want to express the sincerest gratitude to the coordinators of the project Natalia Tkachenko, Margaryta Danilko and Anna Hartfiel.Due to their efforts the organization of the seminar was at the highest level and everyone enjoyed this time spent together! We could not even imagine that this journey would turn into such an enriching experience in many aspects: historical, social, cultural and educational.

During the last day of the seminar Natalia Tkachenko put in front of us 3 envelopes with symbolic pictures of a suitcase, a washing machine and a litter bin, asking us what we want to take with us from the seminar, what topics we still have to work on and what we want to leave in Oświęcim. It was an ineffable joy to hear that everyone would definitely take home new pleasant memories, friends, inspiration and hope, hope that it is possible to live in the society free of discrimination.

Y. Hrebeniuk, V.Budun, D.Ivashchenko, A.Borshchenko, D.Solodiei,

 

students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages, CSPU